Angler, monkfish, goose fish and belly fish are all names for the same exceedingly ugly but delicious fish. This fish earns its living by "fishing" for other fish, thus its common name, angler.
It has a modified dorsal spine with a fleshy appendage that it uses for a fishing rod. The angler fish lies quietly on the bottom and waves its wormlike appendage over its head. When a smaller fish is attracted, the angler leaps off the bottom to devour its prey. Renowned for a prodigious appetite, the angler's diet frequently includes waterfowl and shellfish, with lobster being a favorite.
This East Coast fish is found from Newfoundland to the Carolinas. During the winter, the angler fish hugs the coastline in search of food and warm waters. This is the time of the year when most angler finds its way to the marketplace.
Usually, just the tail is sold, and the huge ungainly head is discarded at sea. The angler fish is dense and firm with a mild, sweet flavor. Sometimes referred to as "poor man's lobster," the texture in particular is quite lobsterlike.